Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Mario Kart Wii - Progress Report 2

So, we're back karting motorbiking for some reason. I was going to write up about the rest of the "New Courses", but real life has gotten in the way and I have to settle with just one this time. The next update though! No videos since they'll be boring to watch (I won't be putting up a video of EVERYTHING I do, just the stuff I feel the need to show off). So, let's get to it!

Flower Cup


Mario Circuit

File:MarioCircuit MKWii.png

The Mario Circuit, being the first circuit of the cup, is pretty simple. It's almost a figure-8 and the only real obstacles are a few Goombas and Chain Chomps. Managed this one without any real troubles.

Position - 1st
Points - 15

Coconut Mall

File:CoconutMall MKWii.jpgCocoMallTrackLayout.PNG

This one takes place in a mall, funnily enough. A pretty fun circuit, the main gimmicks are the escalators that either go up or down and the fact you're in a mall. There's also a part where Mii's drive cars back and forth and you have to dodge them. Alas, that caught me out a couple of times but nothing major.

Position - 1st
Points - 30 (+15)

DK's Snowboard Cross

File:MKwii DKsummit.jpg

For some reason this is called 'DK's Snowboard Cross' in Europe, but elsewhere it's just 'DK Summit'. As you can see from the picture, the main gimmick of the circuit is half-pipes. You can use them to get some sweet air and grab some more items. Also, the course layout looks a bit weird doesn't it? That's because you get launched from a cannon from one end to another. 

Position - 1st
Points - 45 (+15)

Wario's Gold Mine

File:WariosGoldMine MKWii.jpg

Our home circuit! If you're not careful you could end up falling into the pit of doom. Luckily I managed to avoid doing that, a huge achievement for me! However, Mario Kart being Mario Kart, it doesn't make it easy. Sure, there's boost pads but they can serve to send you to the great depths if you're not paying total attention. In addition, there are mine carts to avoid and enemies that can slow you down. As well as your opponents and their stupid power-ups, gah. Still, a fourth first place means..

Position - 1st
Points - 60 (+15)

Overall Position - 1st (Star rank!)

Unfortunately, looking ahead, Wario may end up being the only person with a Star Rank...

Next: Finishing the New Courses, honest this time!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Super Amazing 50th Post Extravaganza - Super Mario 64 Finale

This is half a celebration, and half a message of defeat. For yes, I have managed to type out 50 pages worth of words, with pictures and videos for everyone to look at and admire. But at what cost, I ask you? The cost...of defeat. For I am waving the white flag. We can go home now, but will the nightmares end? Will the burning question of "What if?" ever fade away? I already know the answer to these's a bloody video game stop taking it so seriously, me. So, I've decided that there's no point in getting all 120 Stars in Super Mario 64, who cares. I should be happy enough, I got over a hundred and my save file will be there another day.

Honestly, the past month I just really having had the patience for Mario 64. It's a great game, don't get me wrong, but playing the later levels is more frustrating than anything else. I've never pretended to be the world's most skilled gamer and SM64 isn't the hardest game in the world, but I don't know the later levels and they do require some skill to totally complete. So whatever, it's time to end this and move on to Dark Forces before I hate Mario forever. So, for the very last time, let's look at the levels...

Tiny, Huge Island

File:Tiny-Huge Island 64.png

Stars - 7/7

I like the idea of this level more than I like this level. In fact, it was my pursuit of getting all seven stars that made me decide it just wasn't worth it any more. The biggest problem with this level is that it is really easy to die if you make a slight mistake. On Tiny Island it is easy to slide off into oblivion, or be pushed there by a tiny Goomba. The actual stars were fine to get, but getting 100 coins was the most frustrating part as I just kept dying. The worst came at 99 coins and then being pushed by a tiny Goomba into a bottomless pit. I definitely had 99 problems after that, and they're all Tiny Goombas.

Tick, Tock Clock


Stars- 4/7

I'm on the fence about this level. Perhaps I should give it more time (har har) but if there's anything more frustrating than tiny Goombas, it's getting near the top of this level, missing a jump or getting forced off an obstacle and then falling to your death. I had a lot of experience falling in this level, though when everything was going well I was having fun until I got to the clock hands. Sure, you can make them go faster depending at what "time" you go into the level in, but having to wait for it to arrive is hardly what I call a good time. I missed out on three stars: the 100 coins, Stomp the Thwomp (never managed to actually reach it, must have kept going the wrong way) and "Timed Jumps on the Moving Bars", which I did reach once but then died somehow. Still, it's not a terrible level.

Rainbow Ride

Stars - errr...

No. Just no. I have nothing to write here, I tried to get the first star twice, didn't manage. That was a week ago at the time of writing and I've had no urge to play any more of this. Luckily, my main goal in any game is to merely beat it, and I have over thirty more stars then I need in order to finish this. So, I'm going to take a break from writing and come back when I've defeated Bowser once and for all*!

(*won't actually be 'once and for all')

Bowser in the Sky

File:Bowser in the Sky.png

I didn't do too badly on this, died twice because of a stupid fire-spitting ball, but other than that I got through it fine (though if I was actually going for the red coins, that might have been different). And of course, at the end of it all we've got...

File:Mario vs Bowser 64.png
Who knew Bowser and Mario were swingers?
The hardest Bowser boss of them all, which makes sense since it's the last one. You have to throw him into the bombs three times in order to win. At first I had problems trying to throw him into the bombs, I blamed the camera though once I realised they were placed in the shape of a star I could mentally map out where they all were, even when the camera barely gives you a clue. After the second time, Bowser will do something that causes most of the stage to fall, leaving behind a star-shaped platform. This makes it harder to evade his 'charge' attack, as well as his 'rain fire' attack. Honestly my tactic throughout the whole fight was to keep my distance, try to goad him into chasing me and then when he stops it gives you a chance to grab his tail. 

And is done. We've saved Princess Peach and her castle from the grasps of Bowser, and now we can finally enjoy that cake. And I can enjoy moving on to the next game: Star Wars: Dark Forces. Until then allow me to play you out...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mario Kart Wii - Intro/Mushroom Cup

Mario Kart Wii

Well, enough excuses and experimenting, it's time to get back on track on whittling away my games backlog. Actually, when I say "enough experimenting", that's a complete lie as I'm kind of using Mario Kart Wii in order to test out my game capture device. You'll be seeing my exact playthroughs of each 100cc tournament (as long as I finish 1st overall). Once I have beaten each 100cc cup, I will consider that as 'beaten' and then move on. This is a secondary game after all, they're meant to be swept away as soon as possible.

Mario Kart is something I'm very familiar with, I've played just about all of them and the only ones I don't own are Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart 7. The latter will be fixed in time. I played 'Super Circuit' and 'DS' to death, but I don't have as much experience playing the console versions. This will be my excuse for any silly mistakes that are ahead. Although I bought Mario Kart Wii pretty much the day after buying a Wii, I've only played it once. 

So, here's how this will work, I will post a video of my playthrough of a tournament. Underneath it I will basically provide circuit-by-circuit commentary. I will show off a different character per tournament, so we'll see half of the cast of Mario Kart Wii as played by me. I'm playing with the Gamecube controller, half because I don't want to use the wheel and half because I don't want to use the wheel. Simple as that. So, let's go!

(note: all circuit images are taken from

Mushroom Cup



Luigi Circuit

File:LuigiCircuit MKWii.jpg
File:Overhead Luigi Circuit.PNG

We open up the tournament with the Luigi Circuit, a simple enough course that will be the first one that many people who play this game will race on. There's not much to say about it, I never really had any problems with this stage at all. The biggest obstacle, and this is a common theme with any Mario Kart game, will be your opponent's power-ups. If you don't get hit by one in the whole race, it probably means you're in last place.

Position: 1st
Points: 15

Moo Moo Meadows

File:Mkwii MooMeadows.jpg

Now, stop if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's very safe to have cows wandering onto the track. Where is this incompetent farmer? But yes, most circuits have a gimmick, this one is cows. Try to avoid the McDonalds fodder or else you'll be in for a delay. They honestly aren't going to be a huge problem. What is a problem is a mixture of my own god-damn stupidity and that god-damn blue shell. For those who don't want to watch the video, basically towards the end of the third lap I noticed a blue shell heading my way. In slight hope of stopping someone before they could overtake, I launched a green shell behind me. It didn't work and when I recovered from the blue shell I was down to 3rd. And then my green shell came back and hit me. Luckily I managed to recover enough to get up to 2nd place.

Position: 2nd
Points: 27 (+12)

Mushroom Gorge

Wii Toad Canyon.png

THIS. The gimmick to this one is the red mushrooms are bouncy. Now, skilled players (and by that I mean anyone whose ever played this game) shouldn't have much problem with them. But I'm not a skilled player. There's a section with a number of these in a row, if you don't hit the first one well enough you have a chance of falling into the abyss. Which is what I did. Three times. Coupled with being blasted by opponent's power-ups and well, let's just say I never finished very high up the course. Luckily my nearest rival on the scoreboard, Wario, finished dead last. If this was most other Mario Kart games, he'd be pretty much in the same position every time, so that's nice at least.

Position: 10th
Points: 29 (+2)

Toad's Factory


(Apologies to those who actually watched the video, I wasn't particularly in the mood to watch the track intro after the last race...)
Well, I do much better here at least. There are a few gimmicks in this track, being the finale for the tournament it would make sense for it to be the hardest one (though for me it wasn't because it didn't have bouncy mushrooms). There are conveyor belts that either help you go faster or slower, there are crushers that will crush you and also mud, which will slow you down unless you hit the boost pads. It's a really fun track and there is a lot of item boxes along the way.

Position: 1st
Points: 44 (+15)

Overall Position: 1st...somehow.

One cup down, seven more to go. The next update will have either the next two or three. See you then.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Quick Review: Dead Pixels

Quick Reviews: Where I briefly play a game and then talk about it. Usually reserved for indie games that are part of bundles you can buy right now. Without further ado...

Dead Pixels

A toxic waste spill finds its way into the water supply causing the recently deceased rise from their graves. Now you have to shoot your way through the hordes of undead to reach your only hope for survival. On the way to your rescue you will have to search stores and houses for supplies, and trade with other survivors.
With three game modes, hundreds of items, weapons and grenades, and a city that is never the same twice, there is always something new hiding round the corner in Dead Pixels.
 That is from the website of this game and honestly that's all the story you really need. It's a zombie game, we've all played one before. But I doubt not many people have played a zombie game like this...unless they've already played Dead Pixels. It's currently available on the Xbox Live Arcade, and very recently on Desura where you can buy it for £1.99. In my brief playthrough of the game I can tell you that it is worth every penny of that.

As you can tell from that screenshot, this game has got a retro feel to it. The gameplay is reminiscent of side-scrolling shooters as well as 'River City Ransom', each zombie you kill drops change and you'll pass by shops who will sell you new weapons, ammo, grenades and med-kits, everything you need for the zombie apocalypse. In addition, some buildings you pass by that aren't boarded up (or marked with an "X" painted in blood) can be looted, usually for selling fodder though you can occasionally find a decent weapon in them.

The objective is to get to "da choppa" in order to escape the zombies. You must get from one side of the street to the next, killing any zombie that gets in your way. With each 'street' you pass, the zombies get stronger, more plentiful and shops become less common. In short, try and stockpile a lot of everything you need as early as possible, as you might run out of ammo in an inconvenient place and have to have to run like hell to the next level (not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...ahem). The game's length is determined by your difficulty, on Easy you must complete ten streets, Medium it's twenty, Hard it's thirty and on 'Hardest' it's still thirty but everything is harder. I settled for Normal, and I seemed to be doing okay until I ran out of ammo because I'm an idiot.

The game is full of references to a certain zombie game. Can you guess which one?

I'm so used to playing games where I just hoard most of my money that I was a little too stingy in the first few levels, so when shops became rarer I wasn't prepared. So, in short, when it comes to ammo BUY, BUY, BUY! But also sell your worthless goods because each item has a weight amount, go over 100 and you will move like your encased in jelly and you will probably end up getting eaten a little bit. You can also buy upgrades for your character in these shops, if you have enough spare cash. Also, in each 'street', the shops will ask for a certain item that you can sell for mega bucks. If it's not too heavy, it might be worth your while to carry at least one of everything you see, just in case.

One nice thing this game does is give you the option to use a variety of gamepads, including the old wired Playstation controllers (providing it's a dualshock). It's the first game I've played that has given me this option for that I must commend the developers!

Is there criticisms? Well, yeah, sometimes the shooting feels a bit sluggish and slow, but that might either be a performance issue (because my computer is terrible, though not THAT terrible...) or by design (because they were early guns). And the other criticism is...umm...that there isn't much else for me to criticise about. God damn it CSR Studios, don't you know I have a complaint rota to meet?

The soundtrack is pretty nice as well and it is available for free from their website which is here if you missed it earlier.

Now, some of you are probably thinking "hmm, wait, but I want to spend AT LEAST £3.27 on this game, and I want other games to go with it!". Well, you're in luck! Dead Pixels is a part of the most recent 'Indie Royale', a fortnightly bundle of Indie Games. It lasts for another 2 days and 15 hours at the time of writing. If you want to take a gander go right here:

You can find trailers for Dead Pixels as well as the other games in the bundle. For £3.28 (or more if you're so inclined), you can't go wrong. Heck, this game might be worth that alone.

Update 8/12/2012 - It is obviously not available on the Indie Bundle anymore...but it has just been released on Steam! Still just £1.99 ($2.99), which is a bargain for this game. It is available right here: Support a great Indie Game for less than a price for a pint!